The Tell Tale Heart Essay

926 Words4 Pages
For a very long time, authors have been writing bone chilling stories, most of which share similarities. Some of these similarities include crime, mystery, obsession, suspense and a “mad man” character. According to Merriam Webster, the full definition of the noun “horror” is “a very strong feeling of fear, dread, and shock”. An example of story that possesses such a characteristic is “The Tell Tale Heart” written by the father of horror himself, Edgar Allan Poe. Poe resided in Boston and Baltimore during the spooky 1800s and his work reveals the mood of the era. He lived a life of depression and death, which in effect, is reflected through most all of his work.
Throughout the Tell Tale Heart, all kinds of detail are intentionally left out,
…show more content…
As readers, we are told about the old man he watches over and the love he has for him, he claims himself that he “loves the old man” (Poe 387). However, he has an unhealthy obsession with the old man’s eyeball, which is blind due to cataracts and referred to as horrid and vulturous. Throughout the story, we further learn the extent of the obsession. This raises more suspicion of the character. How can he love a man so much as to look after him in his old age, yet hate such a small part of him? Claims are made that the eyeball is haunting and taunting him, always staring at him. In “The Tell Tale Heart”, the character first introduces his obsession by stating that It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever. (Poe…show more content…
Suspense is built out of curiosity, nervousness or excitement; even our antagonist narrator admits his nervousness while stating “very dreadfully nervous”(Poe 389) after making a noise and wakening the old man. Poe creates this feeling in his readers by describing the 8 nights he stalked the man before killing him. Hours are spent creeping into the man’s bedroom and repetition is used, alluding to time lapping over and over. Finally, the stalking and suspense leads to a sudden murder when the disturbed character suffocates the old man to death. Poe then adds gory detail by sharing that the old man is cut to pieces and hidden under the floorboards. Police soon arrive after being tipped about a loud shout. They are permitted to search the house, but soon lead to casual conversation. Repetition is used again when the narrator shares that he can still hear the old man’s heartbeat beneath the floor. Poe says "It grew louder—louder—louder!...and now—again!—hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!”(390). By saying it like this, the situation is built to be much more anxious, and helps the reader sense the intense vibes in the crazy man’s mind. The repetition can be related to a theory of his death, also including repetition. Near the date Edgar Allan Poe died, there were elections taking place and it was common for gang like organizations to force people to dress in disguise and vote multiple times
Open Document